California Energy Demand Continues Moderate Course
While the growth of photovoltaic solar systems begins to push peak demand for electricity supplied by utilities to later hours of the day, the latest energy forecast from the California Energy Commission finds future state consumption of electricity to be on a moderate course.
The findings are from the Energy Commission’s California Energy Demand Updated Forecast, 2017-2027. Resource planners, particularly at the California ISO and the California Public Utilities Commission, use the forecast to ensure that the future demand for electricity will be met by supply.
“More photovoltaic solar systems on homes are helping to meet the demand for electricity, especially in the afternoons,” said Chris Kavalec, who is one of the Demand Forecast’s primary authors. “Advances in energy efficiency also help moderate consumption growth.”
The report, which the Energy Commission approved earlier this year, describes an updated 10-year forecast for electricity in California and for major utility planning areas within the state. Forecast updates are published in even-numbered years, with a full forecast developed in odd-numbered years. The report lays out likely scenarios for electricity consumption, retail sales, and peak demand for eight major electricity planning areas.
The report found that for statewide electricity consumption, demand should be about 1 percent lower in the immediate years compared to the previous forecast because economic growth is expected to be lower than previous estimates. The economy is projected to grow at a slower rate in Northern California than Southern California. Increases in projected manufacturing and personal income are countered by slower population growth and a declining commercial employment rate. Over time, forecast consumption increases as economic growth picks up, driving more demand for electricity.